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The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.
It happened again just last week. With a big adventure on my dream sheet for March that is going to require a really long run — several hours longer than any run I’ve done in months and months — I’m trying to slowly build up my time outside running. So there I was, running through my small town in less than ideal weather, really windy and somewhere around 20 degrees. I was a solid four miles from home. I had resorted to listening to a podcast to keep my mind off how unpleasant the whole thing was feeling, a move I consider a last resort. My phone kept playing the podcast at double speed which was really annoying, so I had to turn it off and just deal with my bad attitude.
And I remembered: I have an outdoor superpower. And that was my chance to use it.
My outdoor super power, which of course can be used indoors too, is something I lean onto get me moving, improve my attitude or kick me out the door for my 20 minutes even if I’m not in the mood. And it is this:
I can make myself do stuff I really don’t want to do. It’s not willpower so much – because I cave to all sorts of temptations just like anyone else, and I equate willpower with keeping yourself from doing something just much as making yourself do something.
This is more like move power. When I am stuck and don’t want to do something, I can dig deep and propel myself into motion so I can make it happen.
It feels like a super power, so that’s what I call it. If I don’t want to run, I can make myself run. If I don’t want to go outside in bad weather, I can make myself go.
Before I started my outdoor challenge I didn’t know about this super power of mine. I didn’t know that when faced with something unpleasant or uncomfortable I could look it in the face, square up and take it head on. But then I went outside in all kinds of weather, and found that not only did it not kill me, it really did just make me strong just like the old cliche says.
My super power is that I can make myself do things. And I think you have a super power, too.
Maybe your super power is that you can enjoy any weather. Some people just have the ability to not only go out in weather they don’t like, but to then *enjoy* it. I’m not going to claim I do that – I go out in it, I’m glad I did it because I’m glad I was outside, but I won’t say I enjoy the weather in question.
Maybe your super power is that you can make any outdoor thing fun. For me, just because I find the benefit in something doesn’t mean I had objective fun out there. But there are people who really do seem to find the fun in anything. Maybe that’s you.
Or maybe your super power is that you can elongate time. I dont mean actually slow it down although that would be really rad and if you can do that you should tell me. But there are people out there who are so good at finessing their schedule that they somehow fit in 1 million outdoor adventures into a very short span. How DO they make it happen?
The best thing about all of these super powers is that while you might realize you have them because you have gone outside and found them in nature, they are extremely useful for inside life, too. Because I make myself do things, I can make myself do annoying work or household tasks that I would rather avoid, and then I get to enjoy the accomplishment on the other end.
For example, if you can enjoy any weather, you’re probably great at making the most of any challenging circumstance. If you can find the fun in drudgery, you’re basically Mary Poppins. And if you can elongate time, I wanna see the magic you accomplish during a work or family day. Teach me your ways, all of you.
I’m leaning into my super power during the tough weather months, knowing that if I take the steps that feel thick and hard and slow right now, I’ll see the rewards later when I get to go on my big adventure and have the pictures and story and memories to prove that I was there.
You can see photos of all of my outdoor time on Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram, and I want to see yours too — share them with #humansoutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.